Saturday, May 26, 2012

Greco-Spanish Wrestling

Random Barking

The news is chock-a-block with stuff as a bad Exmass fruitcake, but it isn't even June yet. I'd prefer we not get too far ahead of ourselves.

The Greeks continue to come to a boil, which threatens stability of the Eurozone and the Euro. Depositors have transferred some of their money out of Greek banks -- not a full-fledged bank run, but a potential warm-up. Their current government is definitely Left, but whether they tell the EU ministers and the ECB to suck Adam Smith's underwear take their Austerity plans and go away is anyone's guess.

Meanwhile, Die Eisen Kanzellerin continues to say that Austerity is the only overarcing policy for the EU she will accept. She's had to claim this week that there are no contingency plans for Greece to exit the Euro and the Eurozone, but there was some minor embarrassment when it was revealed that yes, Angela, such plans have been made and are being updated. Not sure why this was such a flap; contingency planning is another form of prudence.

However[I'm sorry; have to use the phrase] the Greek Chorus of sensible financial analysts, all demanding that growth through deficit spending by individual European governments, continues to grow louder with each report showing GDP shrinking in Britain, Italy, Spain, (certainly Greece) France, and even Germany.

If The EU 'stays the course' on Austerity and refuses to pull back from Stalingrad compromise, then Germany's current government may be responsible for pushing the continent further into the current Depression off the fiscal cliff into another Recession.

Which will, of course, kick the United States economy in the balls to the curb, as we move into a Presidential election race between an empty-headed, rich Suit Talking-Head, desperate to be elected; and a Chicago political Suit whose core values seem to be not pissing off rich people, and whom is desperate to get re-elected.

The first will just fuck The People (without dinner, I add) and, when We try to get his attention later in a crowd, will push a copy of the Big Book O' Mormon at us, flash a smile and say, "Hi; great to see you", then disappear into an exclusive elites-only gathering behind a phalanx of bodyguards.

The Re-electable Other will allow The People to be gangbanged by the Tee Partei and then have all manner of ready explanations as to why he couldn't prevent this from happening. Then, he'll flash a smile and disappear into an exclusive elites-only gathering behind a phalanx of bodyguards.

It's all quite upsetting. And which of these two wins may be decided, in part, on how quickly the EU and its central bankers can run round-the-clock, pump-and-shore parties below decks on the good ship Austero.

Many observers in the U.S. believe that the EU / Eurozone stuttering into collapse, or a larger implosion of global financial markets resulting from a crisis in an individual European country on the brink, would not be good for The Re-Electable Other, and allow the Rich Suit to claim it was all Obama's fault.

Obligatory Cute Small Animal Photo In Middle Of Blog Rant

Ah, but what's this? Now, Spain begins to deteriorate financially, prompting another set of depositors to transfer billions of Euros out of their banks. Ratings agencies downgrade the perceived quality of those banks, which force even more depositors to transfer funds to other banks, perceived as being safer bets.

Franco crawled from his grave, took one look at a recent (Rightist) newspaper and promptly crawled back in. Bankia, Spain's largest financial institution, announced on Thursday that it needs $19 Billion Euros in 'assistance' from -- well, somewhere -- just in order to keep from declaring bankruptcy and setting off a world-wide financial Armageddon.

It's curious, isn't it? The world's major banking and investment firms can each declare that their own individual problem is enough to ignite a global financial collapse, if they don't get a bailout. And over time another, and another, noch einmal; usw., usw.

The amount of debt created during just the last ten years -- a great deal bound up with Real Estate -- has been sitting in the middle of the global economy like a partially-defused Thousand-Pound bomb. Since 2008, the combined efforts of the world's central bankers (and friends) has managed to stop the bomb's timer (allowing those with wealth to figure out methods of saving as much as they can -- even while millions of Us become unemployed), but that's all. It gave them time, so it was said, to find a solution, to "unwind" the debt and somehow pull the fuse out of the Thousand-Pounder before it went up and brought the whole edifice down.

But, the Europeans (and the Amerikanischer Tee Partei) demanded that the only solution was Austerity -- proof that as government spending decreased and national debts were brought under control, The Magic Market Confidence Fairy would coax investments in equities, and push banks into loaning money to develop businesses and hire all those peasants unemployed people. The banks said Oh; fuck you, by the way. They wanted more free bailout money, even as they made more profits. Unemployment grew. And Austerity as a plan was proven incorrect, as it turned out.

And, while all this has been going on, investment banks have continued trading in Derivatives, or Credit-Default Swaps -- and the amounts of those which would need to be paid in the event of a financial collapse is in the hundreds of trillions. This is why the situation in Greece, and Spain (Italy and/or Portugal will be next) is worth watching.

It's like being a spectator at a slow-motion automobile accident between two cars driven by rich crack addicts, playing Chicken by driving head-on at each other: They knew exactly how they got into this situation; they knew what getting addicted could do to them; but they did it anyway.

We enabled them, too. We could have demanded a little more finance regulation, listened a little less to Little Rupert's propaganda factory. We believed everything the Whorehouse and Casino of the Free Market showed us. Now, we're living through history, a thing we somehow believed we were immune from, helpless to do anything about the impending crash -- even move out of the way. Because, however it happens, we're going to get struck by debris as a result.

But, I'm only a Dog, and no one listens to me. Tonight, I'm going out with friends, a couple and their children, to (no joke) a Greek restaurant owned by two brothers. I've been going there occasionally since they opened in the early 80's, and am treated like a relation (non-Greek; but, still), which makes it easy to get a table. The food is great; it's one of a handful of places in The City where you can get Retsina and a dog bowl full of Spanakopita.

It'll be a good time. And moment to moment, that's the best we can expect. I can live with that.


  1. Speaking of cute small animals, e.g. the rock hyrax, in case you are not familiar with it I urge you to read the section "Evolution" in the Wikipedia article

    Apparently Hyraxes are NOT the elephants' closest relatives - the sirenians (dugongs and manatees) are.

    As Robert Louis Stevenson wrote, in "A Child's Garden of Verses" -

    The world is so full
    Of such marvelous things
    That I'm sure we should all
    Be as happy as kings.

    Or dogs.

  2. Not so related to Elephants? Well, there goes my fantasy about an 80-year-old Beecroft's Tree Hyrax who remembers FDR's election.

    Woof woof woof woof.


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